Chittagong Vikings captain Tamim Iqbal had a placid expression as he waited 26 minutes for the toss to happen against Sylhet Superstars, whose captain Mushfiqur Rahim was delayed as a result of two of his players not having NOCs.
Then, while walking out to open with Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tamim was left confused as he spotted Josh Cobb and Ravi Bopara in the Sylhet team. The pair did not feature in the team list that was given to him at the toss. Somebody then informed Tamim that they had the "permission" but Tamim wanted confirmation and walked off with Dilshan.
"I didn't know at first why the toss was delayed, so I asked the match referee [Raqibul Hasan]," Tamim said. "He informed me that the technical committee has raised questions about some of their players. I didn't have a problem waiting to do the toss. It was supposed to take place at 1.40pm [the match referee is understood to have told both captains that the toss would initially be delayed by 10 minutes because of the NOC issue] but it eventually took place at 1.55pm [1.56pm]. The match referee and the technical committee member said that a player without NOC cannot play the match.
"I saw the team list which had Munaweera and Mendis [as the only foreign players]. Normally there are three copies of the players' list but I saw only one. The match referee told me that they will send it to me after the toss. When we went to bat, I saw they had four foreign players. I asked what happened here? They said there's permission. But I left the field and everyone came down; the match referee, umpires and board [members] were all there. The match took place later, as you saw."
Mushfiqur, however, didn't come forward with an explanation of the issue. He kept repeating that he wasn't the person to be answering questions about why Sylhet went onto the field with two players who were not named in the playing XI at the toss, and why his signature wasn't at the bottom of the players' list that was handed out to the opposition captain. Mushfiqur said he signed a team sheet, but that had not been sent to the scorers or the press box.
"There is no use asking me a question about this subject," he said. "I did what we were supposed to do. I followed the instructions. I was told to do the toss, I did. The coach and I selected the XI.
"Possibly there was miscommunication from all sides. I think they have to investigate the matter. They can answer you, there's no point asking me. My signature was in the team list. I can't do the toss without a signed playing XI. The match referee can tell you why the toss was delayed. My job was to do the toss. He said come after 10 minutes, and that's what I did."
When Tamim walked back towards the dressing room to know who gave Sylhet the go-ahead to field Cobb and Bopara after their names had not been listed in the team sheet, discussions were already taking place between the BPL officials, franchise owners and officials from both sides near the boundary at the Grandstand.
As Tamim sat down, the Sylhet Superstars' owner Azizul Islam went up to him and a heated exchange between the two ensued. Later, at the end of the game, Tamim alleged that he was abused.
"I want to say something to everyone: the national cricketers have to be respected. You can't treat them like beggars because you have money. I have come here to play, not to listen to your abuse about my family.
"I respected him enough by calling him 'sir'," Tamim said. He asked me to stand up and talk to him, I did. But then he said something very unpleasant about my family. I have seen richer owners in the IPL and I saw how they valued the cricketers. I don't want to name him. You saw him."
Tamim said he hoped that the BCB would take action, besides admitting that he wasn't in the "mentality to play" after the delayed start. Tamim, however, managed to make his second successive half-century, which set up Vikings' narrow win. "I feel I am a part of the BCB whose disciplinary committee will take action," Tamim said. If they keep treating us like beggars then we should just stop playing cricket. I didn't have the mentality to play, after all this happened. I am lucky to have played such an innings."